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The Leadership Law that Rules Them All


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Leave a comment on this guest post by Brad Chase to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of his new book, Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big.

(Deadline for eligibility is 6/20/2020. International winners will receive electronic versions.)

John Maxwell has his 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Leadership Freak has shared many articles with leadership decrees, such as The 10 Laws of Trust, and The Law of the Skunk.

But there is one leadership law that rules them all:

No leader succeeds without a great strategy.

Great leadership requires judgment, good values, trust, and considerably more. But none of that matters if you don’t have a plan to compete, a strategy to win. Strategy is the anatomy of business success.

For most companies, their strategy has one fundamental bet. DocuSign is betting on e-signatures, Apple on devices. If you make the right bet, you must still do many other things well to win. If you make the wrong bet, it doesn’t matter how well you execute—your business will fail, and you will fail as a leader.

E x mc²:

How do you decide what strategy to employ, what bet to place? To help figure that out, I created the Strategy First model. It’s an acronym for the three key components of strategy and a twist on Einstein’s famous E=mc² equation: Strategy = E × mc².

The “c” is squared because it represents generally the most important strategy element: customer value. The “m” is for market (profit) potential. The “E” is for execution, how you run your business every day. To assess your strategy, measure these variables relative to your competition.


Strategy is dynamic.

Great leaders adjust their strategy as they learn and conditions change. Netflix first bet that users were frustrated with DVD late fees, then bet on streaming and then bet on original content. Refresh your strategy when needed.

Without a first-class plan, you can’t be a first-class leader.

Strategy comes first. Remember the first law of leadership: No leader succeeds without a great strategy.

How is strategy, or lack of strategy, impacting your business? Leadership?

Brad Chase is the author of Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big and a veteran strategy, leadership, and marketing consultant to CEOs and senior executives. He spent fourteen years at Microsoft leading businesses, including MSN and Windows marketing, and finished his tenure as a Senior Vice President and Executive Officer.

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